Good Cop, Bad Cop (MIAMI BLUES & Q&A)

Since writing this for the April 27, 1990 issue of the Chicago Reader, I’ve become an even bigger fan of Charles Willeford’s four Hoke Moseley novels; some of their virtues remind me of John Updike’s novels about Rabbit Angstrom. My favorite of these Moseley novels remains Sideswipe. — J.R.

MIAMI BLUES

*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by George Armitage

With Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nora Dunn, Charles Napier, Obba Babatunde, and Shirley Stoler.

Q&A

** (Worth seeing)

Directed and written by Sidney Lumet

With Nick Nolte, Timothy Hutton, Armand Assante, Patrick O’Neal, Lee Richardson, Luis Guzman, Charles Dutton, Jenny Lumet, and Paul Calderon.

The ambiguous power and image of the policeman stand at the center of two better-than-average crime pictures playing at the moment, both of them the work of writer-directors adapting novels by others. Part of the merit of these two otherwise very different movies is that neither one depends on either of the compulsively overworked subgenres that currently dominate the scene — the cop-buddy action thriller derived from TV or the hunt for the serial killer derived from Dirty Harry.

I have less of an aversion to the cop-movie genre per se than to what this genre has become.… Read more »

Ebrahim Golestan’s Epic Tragedy of the 60s: BRICK AND MIRROR

Written for a booklet distributed at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival.J.R.

 brickandmirror

Most people reading these words have likely heard about the Iranian New Wave, which conjures up such names as Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf, and Panahi. But until recently, Westerners who have heard about the first Iranian New Wave, whose names include Farrokhzad, Golestan, Kimiavi, and Saless, have been few and far between. Apart from the belated availability in the West of Forough Farrokhzad’s 1962 short film The House is Black, this watershed prerevolution movement in Iranian cinema has almost been lost to history due to the abrupt European exiles of many of its other major artists — Ebrahim Golestan to England, Parviz Kimiavi to France, and Sohrab Shahid Saless to Germany. (Bahram Beizai, Dariush Mehrjui, and Amir Naderi are among the few filmmakers who might be stylistically associated with both waves, but given how seldom their own prerevolution films are seen nowadays, apart from Mehrjui’s The Cow, it’s difficult to say much about them.) Arguably even more innovative as well as more modernist than the second New Wave, and virtually contemporaneous with the French New Wave, Farrokhzad’s The House is Black (1962), Golestan’s Brick and Mirror (1963-64), Kimiavi’s The Mongols (1973), and Saless’ A Simple Event (1974) are masterworks that continue to speak to the present like few other films.… Read more »